The start of December marked the announcement of the contenders for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year, after 12 months of sport unlike any other.
1954 marked the inception of the award, won by runner Christopher Chataway and it has been awarded every year since. Sir Andy Murray is the most successful winner, taking home the award 3 times in 2013, 2015 and 2016. There have only been 13 women to have won Sports Personality of the Year, with Zara Phillips’ success in 2006 being the most recent. Last year the prize was won by cricketer Ben Stokes, but who are this year’s contenders?
The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year, 24-year-old jockey Hollie Doyle broke her own record for the number of winners ridden by a British woman in one year, with 120 victories. A series of successes despite a shortened season, Doyle claimed her first victory at Royal Ascot, achieved a historic double on British Champions Day, and became the first woman to ride 5 winners on the same card.
Nottingham’s own Stuart Broad took his 500th Test wicket during this summer’s winning series against West Indies after being dropped for the opening match. He now sits 7th in the list of all-time Test wicket-takers and has long been integral to England’s success in Test cricket.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson led his club on their procession to the Premier League title last season, ending the 30 year wait since their last league title having lifted the club’s 6th Champions League 12 months prior. Henderson long had to contend with comparisons to the man he succeeded as Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard, but his leadership, skill and determination have shone through in his last 2 seasons, so much so he was named the Football Writers’ Men’s Player of the Year 2019/20.
…the self-titled ‘Gypsy King’ has achieved a remarkable comeback to top form.
Tyson Fury became a two-time world champion back in February upon defeating Deontay Wilder and claiming the WBC heavyweight title. After battles with depression and weight issues, the self-titled ‘Gypsy King’ has achieved a remarkable comeback to top form. Fury, however, is unhappy with his nomination and has asked to be removed from the shortlist, encouraging his supporters not to vote for him because he was ‘the people’s champion’ and had ‘no need for verification or any awards.’ Despite his complaints, the BBC has said he will remain a nominee.
One of snooker’s greats, O’ Sullivan, won his 6th World Championship this year and in doing so moved himself to joint 4th on the list of all-time World Champions. He also became the oldest champion since 1978, aged 44 and his 18-8 victory in the final, against Kyren Wilson was the biggest winning margin in a Championship since 2008.
Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton is the only nominee on the shortlist to have previously won Sports Personality of the Year, in 2014, as well as finishing as runner up 4 times, in 2007 & 2008, and 2018 & 2019. This year Hamilton cemented his stature as of one of the greatest drivers of all time, equalling Michael Schumacher’s achievement of 7 world championships, as well as beating Schumacher’s record for the number of race wins alongside holding record for the most pole positions.
Alongside the titular award, the ceremony will also announce winners for the Team of the Year and Coach of the Year, as well as the World Sport Star of the Year and the Unsung Hero. This year it was also announced that Marcus Rashford is to receive a special award, recognising his outstanding work of his campaign to help end child food poverty in the UK.
As always, the award is decided by public vote and the winners will be announced at this year’s ceremony, live from Salford on Sunday 20th December.